WE have recorded in Acts 5, an account of a man and his wife who sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, but brought a certain portion of it and laid it at the apostle's feet.

It appears from reading the 34th and 35th verses of chapter 4, that as many as were brought into the truth by the preaching of the apostles, sold their lands and all they possessed, and came and brought the price thereof and gave it to the apostles, who divided it among them according as every man had need. Those who were rich sold and gave up all, while those who were poor shared alike with those who before had abundance. Thus they had all things in common. But Ananias thought the apostles would not know how much he got for his possession, and that he could just as well keep back some of it as not. He let his wife into the secret, and she consented. 

They no doubt thought, as a great many Christians do at the present day, that it was doing most too much to give all to the Lord, that it would answer the purpose just as well if they gave most all. So when this man came into the room where Peter was, with his money, he laid it at the apostle's feet, as though he was making a complete surrender of the entire amount. Peter did not ask him if that was the full sum of the price of his land, but seemed to know from the conduct of the man that he was keeping back a portion, Peter says, "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." 

Acts 5:3, 4. 

Ananias could not deny his deception, nor offer an excuse, but was so overcome with a sense of his guilt that he fell dead upon the floor. His wife, not knowing what had happened, came in shortly after, and was asked by Peter if they had sold the land for so much, and how it was that they had agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord. The words of Peter struck a deep sense of shame and guilt to her heart, and she also sunk down upon the floor and yielded up the ghost.

Dear children, what important lesson can we learn from this account of Ananias and his wife? What was it recorded in God's word for, but for our instruction? I think we can see what a fearful crime it is to lie, and especially to lie to the Lord. How easy it is to commit this sin. Before we are aware of it we break our promises to God; and is not this lying? Have you never told the Lord that you would love him and serve him with your whole heart? And have you done so? Are you fulfilling that promise today? And every day? Remember the fate of Ananias and Sapphira who pretended to give all, but kept back a part. It is better not to promise than to promise and not pay. Yet, this does not release us from our obligations to God, for he requires us to promise and pay too. It is a fearful thing to lie to God, and he will certainly punish all who do so. Be careful, then, of your words, and keep in mind that God's eye is ever upon you. He knows all your thoughts, and can penetrate every motive. He loves you, and wants to make you happy. Eternal life with Jesus in that beautiful city is promised to all who will give God their whole hearts, and serve him faithfully to the end.


Battle Creek, Michigan